Self-Help Enterprises hosted California State Secretary of Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Lourdes Castro Ramírez at our Sequoia Commons rental project in Goshen at the beginning of March. Patrick Isherwood and Betsy McGovern-Garcia of Self-Help Enterprises led her on a tour of Sequoia Commons, one of SHE's newest rental communities. Sequoia Commons includes a total of 126 multifamily housing units and includes an outdoor common area with a playground, barbecue pit, picnic tables, basketball court, and a 3,072 square feet community room equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, laundry facility, computer lab, and separate management office.
The event provided the opportunity for SHE staff and other local community partners to provide feedback to Secretary Castro Ramírez on various affordable housing programs and initiatives and discussed the ongoing housing needs of the San Joaquin Valley. The tour included viewing the solar PV inverters and generation meters, which provide renewable energy to offset the common area and residential electrical loads.
Tom Collishaw and Betsy McGovern-Garcia then participated in a roundtable discussion with Secretary Castro Ramirez about the challenges and opportunities in creating affordable housing options in the San Joaquin Valley. The discussion was joined by several peers and partners including Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, Faith in the Valley, RH Community Builders, Tulare/Kings Homeless Alliance, and the Kern County Housing Authority. The attendees shared challenges in accessing adequate resources to serve community members who are experiencing homelessness, and the lack of funding for ongoing supportive services. Additionally, the State’s investment in the Homekey program was discussed, and how to make those resources accessible to rural communities. All attendees were eager to share challenges and opportunities for expanding housing, sustainability initiatives, and other community-based programs to better serve the San Joaquin Valley!